Bradie Tennell is your U.S. champion. Silver medalist Mirai Nagasu appears headed back to the Olympics after tearfully being left off the 2014 team.
And bronze medalist Karen Chen will round out the three-woman U.S. Olympic team over fourth-place Ashley Wagner, should a committee stick to the standings from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday night.
But that’s not a sure thing.
Wagner, the three-time national champion and face of U.S. women’s skating, placed fourth for the second straight nationals in an Olympic year.
In 2014, Wagner was placed on the Olympic team over third-place Nagasu. Will a committee using this criteria of results from the past year put Wagner on the team again?
Wagner said she was underscored and deserved a spot on the Olympic team.
The Olympic team of three women — again, not necessarily the top three at nationals — will be announced Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on TODAY.
The U.S. Championships continue Saturday with the pairs and men’s free skates on NBC and NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.
Tennell, 19, has been a revelation since placing ninth at the 2017 Nationals. She took bronze in her Grand Prix debut at Skate America on Thanksgiving weekend and entered nationals with the two highest scores among Americans this season.
Tennell’s jumping was nearly impeccable in both programs where every other top U.S. woman had struggles.
She topped the short program by seven tenths of a point and the free skate by nearly five points, with Nagasu runner-up both nights.
“I can’t believe it,” Tennell, the 2015 U.S. junior champion, said on NBC. “I can’t put it into words. … I think the sky’s the limit for me.”
Nagasu, 24, matched her best finish at nationals since winning her only title in 2008. She made the 2010 Olympic team, was fourth at those Winter Games, and topped the 2010 Worlds short program but never reached those levels internationally again.
Her most memorable skate may have been the 2014 U.S. Championships exhibition, when she tearfully performed hours after she was left off the Olympic team in favor of Wagner.
She added the triple Axel this season and landed it messy in both programs but was given credit for the jump. Quite the longevity for the Californian who fell on a double Axel in her 2008 Nationals free skate.
Chen won last year’s national title and was fourth at the 2017 Worlds, two results that boost her resume in the eyes of the selection committee.
In 2014, Wagner had the credentials as defending U.S. champion and top U.S. woman in international competition. She has not been at that level in more than one year.
Wagner, in her first time competing her “La La Land” free skate on Friday, singled a planned triple Salchow as part of a combination. She also under-rotated a late triple Lutz, two-footing the landing.
When she received her score, lower than her free skate at the last three nationals, Wagner shook her head from left to right and raised her eyebrows in concern.
Wagner was in danger after placing fifth in Wednesday’s short program. She has had two poor seasons — by her standards — since winning the 2016 World silver medal.
It may have been her final competition.
It appears none of the Sochi Olympians will make it back for PyeongChang.
Gracie Gold, the top U.S. woman in Sochi, is sitting out nationals after receiving treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. Gold is in San Jose to support the competing skaters and tweeting up a storm.
The third 2014 U.S. Olympian, Polina Edmunds, withdrew before the free skate due to right foot pain, according to her social media.
Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports in Sochi, was seventh in the short program. She missed the entire 2016-17 season due to a bone bruise in her right foot and was ranked 13th among U.S. women this season going into nationals.
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